7 ways to make a social media crisis worse

It’s tempting to provide an answer even if you don’t have one—or better yet, pretend the crisis isn’t happening—but doing so only makes the situation worse.

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Social media crises can happen to the best of brands, but even they don’t always respond in the best manner.

Brands will fan the flames until not just one building is burning, but the entire street. They then have to try to extinguish a fire that has gotten utterly out of control.

Here are seven ways brands can make a social media crisis worse, as well as tips to keep the fire small:

1. Give an answer even if you don’t have one.

Our human nature makes us want to fix things. We want to give an answer when someone asks a question.

Brands need to ignore this tendency when they don’t have a definitive answer or know how they’re going to resolve a situation. They’re better off saying “I don’t know” than providing misleading or inaccurate information.

2. Give complex answers or apologies.

Keep your answers short, sweet and to the point. Dabbling in complexity almost always lends itself to explanations or justifications. Also, don’t be overly apologetic. It reads as browbeating at best and insincere at worst.

3. Edit or delete a mistake.

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